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Author Notes: This savory recipe comes from Vietnam and is often served when ringing in the Lunar New Year. Fatty pork belly and/or pork shoulder is braised in a rich sauce flavored with shallots, garlic, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Caramelized sugar gives this unique recipe a depth of flavor not typically found in savory, Asian dishes. —Connie Choi
- 8 eggs
- 2 pounds pork belly and/or pork shoulder, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 pieces garlic, minced
- 2 pieces shallot, diced
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 pieces whole star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups light coconut milk or coconut juice
- 2 sprigs green onions, sliced
- Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil. As soon as it reaches a rolling boil, take it off the heat, cover with the lid, and let it sit for 8 minutes. Peel, then set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pork, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, soy sauce, star anises, and black pepper. Set aside.
- In a dutch oven or medium-sized pot, heat only the sugar over medium-low heat to caramelize it, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sugar will melt, turn into a syrup, then become darker in color. The sugar burns very easily so keep a close eye! Once it turns golden brown, add the pork, increase the heat to medium-high, and stir to coat and brown the meat. After the meat is brown all over, simmer for 5 minutes to let the sauce cook down.
- Pour in the coconut milk or juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this time, ladle and discard any fat or foam that rises to the surface.
- Add the peeled and boiled eggs and simmer for 30 minutes on low heat, gently stirring occasionally. Plate, top with sliced green onions (optional), and serve over rice.